CoMBoS – 1st Conference of Molecular Biologists of Serbia ended with my plenary lecture “CRISPR/Cas9 Methodology for Epigenetic Editing“. I spent an interesting day in conversation with Tomasz Jurkowski from the University of Stuttgart, a prominent epigeneticist also interested in epigenetic CRISPR/Cas9 methodology. In February 2016 my team succeeded to publish, as the first in the world, design and validation of the epigenetic tool CRISPR/dCas9-DNMT3A for targeted DNA methylation in Nucleic Acids Research, just six months before Jurkowski and his team published a similar tool. This was a great success for my team. It was my pleasure and privilege to meet Jurkowski in Beograd on CoMBoS and to talk about science with him – such a kind, modest and wise man.
At the Glyco24 Conference, which took place on Jeju Island (South Korea), Aleksandar and I gave oral presentations entitled: “MGAT3 Gene Promoter Methylation Correlates with IgG Glycosylation in Inflammatory Bowel Disease” and “Modulation of Glyco-Gene Expression using CRISPR/Cas9-Based Molecular Tools for Epigenetic Editing“. Besides attending an excellent conference, we enjoyed sightseeing of the Jeju island, which was a unique experience. It is not surprising that Jeju island has been listed among the UNESCO natural heritage sites in 2007. Among breath-taking spots, such as Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak and Manjanggul Cave – female divers from Jeju (where diving is exclusively women’s job) called haenyeo (해녀) were included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2016, a distinction still coveted by Japanese female divers called ama (海女).
This year, ISABS conference was very successful for our group. After I gave an invited lecture on Monday 19th, Professor Tamas Ordog, the ISABS program director, invited me to come to Mayo Clinics and deliver a lecture about the CRISPR/Cas9 epigenetic editing tools and its potential use in personalised medicine. Also, Goran and Vlade took the Young Scientist Award for the best poster on behalf of the whole group of colleagues involved in the design and construction of our dCas9-DNMT3A and dCas9-TET1 tools. Congratulations to all !!!
Aleksandar, Goran, Vlade and me attended to Jenner Glyco 2017 Conference. I gave an invited lecture and Y-team presented a poster. Besides, we enjoyed sun, good food and excellent company of interesting scientists.
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From 24th to 26th of April, Aleksandar and me were in the beautiful northern German city Kiel – it was freezing cold but this did not prevent us from enjoying cruising Kiel Canal and drinking bier on the boat:) Besides this, we brainstormed with the top scientists from all over the Europe (SYSCID consortium) and agreed on doing some very exciting experiments which included CRISPR/Cas9 technology.
PS It happened that Aleksandar eaten away a whole fish although he is vegeterian (which do not include eating any living creature:)
Our new Horizon2020 project “A systems medicine approach to chronic inflammatory disease” (SYSCID) has been announced in several media: Večernji list, news of Nova TV and HRT1, scientific news reports “Prometej”, and “Znanstveni krugovi”. European Commission has highlighted SYSCID as one of the priority projects of Horizon202 in the field of LifeScience.
Melanija, Vlade and Goran have become legal employees of Faculty of Science and we are very happy that thing finally settled down for them. Now, they can work even harder, to play harder 🙂
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Three months ago, Vlade and Goran joined our group. Even if still not officially employed they already accelerated our epitools project. We are happy to have such smart, hardworking and efficient “boys” in our group whose most frequent question is “Why?” We are looking forward to see them officially employed as PhD students in our group.
By 30th September 2016 we reached the end of FP7 IBD-BIOM project. It was a successful and productive project that is somehow continuing with our new HORIZON2020 project SYSCID (A SYStems medicine approach to Chronic Inflammatory Disease) that is about to start. With the end of IBD-BIOM we have lost two members of our team – Paula and Dora. We are missing them, however, we see the rearrangements in the group as a new beginning. Paula is looking forward to going abroad, and Dora will still be “hanging” with us for a couple of month in order to finish her PhD thesis. “The Only Thing that is Constant is Change” (Heraclitus) – Change is really the true constant in life, without change you don’t grow, learn or fully develop into who you are as a person. Therefore, Paula and Dora we wish you good luck in the process of growing.